West Maui Restoration Model
West Maui watersheds suffer from a number of stressors to the nearshore reefs including the impact of pollutants from legacy agriculture, increasing urban runoff and wastewater injection wells that connect to the ocean. As former agricultural lands begin to re-stabilize after abandonment, one of the major concerns and observations are the eroding legacy sediments in the channels or gulches which appear to be a significant source of sediment to downstream reefs. Fortunately, the headwater areas within the West Maui watershed have been protected and preserved and extensive efforts have occurred there to remove and keep out invasive and non-native animal species (wild pigs) as well as illegal recreational motor biking. The middle watershed areas were intensively cropped up until recently for pineapples, seed corn and sugarcane. The relatively erodible soils entrained within the streambeds and flanking terraces within the middle portion of the watershed continue to transport legacy sediments, which preliminary findings suggest, are mobilized by relatively small rain events. It is our intention to work within these middle and lower watershed area to address sediment transport within the gulches using bioengineering practices that can act to re-stabilize these areas for the long-term and help to mitigate the impacts from potential future land use changes. After developing a successful restoration model to deal with these mobile sediments in one watershed we will be able to transfer those methods to other West Maui watersheds including those held by private landowners and corporations.
See Recent Project Update